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Supporting the Family Friendly Workplace in California

Finding a balance between work and family obligations isn't always easy for Californian's, but fortunately there are laws in place on the state and federal levels that make finding that balance a little easier. Both minimum wage legislation and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as well as the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) help make finding balance a little easier for families. Even though families are supposed to be supported, not everyone is fully aware of their rights, and may need the assistance of an attorney in instances where employers attempt to give them less support than what they are entitled to.

How Minimum Wage Laws Help

California's minimum wage is on the rise. In 2008, minimum wage was $8, in 2014 it rose to $9, in 2016 it went to $10 and by 2022 it will rise to $15. If a person were to continue to work for $8 an hour, as was the case in 2008, they would need to work 75 hours a week in order to have the same income as someone who works 40 hours a week for $15. In many cases, this means a person working for minimum wage would be required to hold more than one job in order to support themselves and their families. This means there are fewer jobs available when individuals are forced to work more hours, the workers themselves may be more susceptible to illness due to their working long hours, and they may be less productive or perform at a lower level due to fatigue. In addition, working excess hours reduces the amount of time Californian can spend with their families -- especially their children, which may impact their ability to provide proper supervision and guidance during a child's formidable years.

In addition to giving a rising guaranteed wage that can provide a certain amount of security, it's also worth noting that the responsibility of paying employee wages can't be redistributed to the business's customers via the tipping practice. Tipping is still welcome, but it is for service that is above minimum standards. Servers, for example do not need to rely of the whims and generosity of customers in order to get their base pay.

Being Covered in Special Circumstances

While minimum wage laws help make sure families have the tools to take care of each other under normal circumstances, laws such as the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) watch out for families when there are unusual circumstances, such as an illness in the family or the arrival of a new family member. While both laws are similar and contain a lot of overlap, the language in CFRA lends itself to allowing for bonding and emotional support, such as after a child is born or joins the family through the adoption process or foster care, rather than strictly as a matter of medical recovery. It does apply, however, to cases where an employee is suffering from a serious illness.

Job security is among the biggest benefits an employee can gain if they take leave under CFRA. While the leave, up to 12 weeks a year, is unpaid, employees are able to use accrued paid leave in order to be paid for part of the time. Also, whether they are being paid or not, they are able to retain their health care coverage while they are on leave under CFRA.

Restrictions to Minimum Wage and Family Leave Laws

While both types of laws do a lot to help families stay together and support each other, there are restrictions that may affect persons that want to take advantage of these laws. For the most part, they apply to employers who employee at least 50 employees, and leave laws look at how much time the person has worked for a company before they are eligible to take leaves. A lawyer can help people understand the differences and similarities between CFRA and FMLA laws and which types of leaves they are eligible to take in different situations.

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